anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

The End of the Journey

My conversation with John on the way home from watching Moonlight at the Picturehouse put me in a rather strange mood. He revealed that things are really serious with his girlfriend and that he is more or less going to move out of Cambridge to be with her for the final academic year. What does it say about me that my first instinct was to start to disengage from the friendship, to detach myself, so that I would need him almost not at all when he eventually leaves? But perhaps that is unnecessary, for I have not been feeling the same degree of closeness that I felt to him when we first became friends last year.

Of course, this is entirely selfish of me. There is no other way to spin this. After I got over that selfish instinct, I told him that I was genuinely happy for him that he's found something stable, lasting, committed, and good - because I was, I am, and he has. He and his girlfriend shouldn't work on paper due to their fundamental differences, but perhaps it is precisely because they have these differences and are committed anyway that makes it work. Perhaps that is precisely why they make sense. 'She will always be there,' he said of her.

The weird funk arose from that. For isn't that what we all want? Isn't that what we look for when we go through a series of relationships, looking for the one that lasts, the one that will always be there? But it's more than that; you have to want this person to always be there; you have to want to always be there for this person. This person cannot be a projection of your hopes and wishes; you have to take him as he is, flesh and blood, warts and all. And maybe that has been my problem all this while; he - all of my ex-boyfriends - has never measured up to the imaginary person I had (and still have) in my head, and so I leave after a while because I thought that I could not commit to something - someone - that fell short of the ultimate standard.

John's relationship is impressive in a particularly personal way - personal to me, that is. It is the kind of relationship that I would ditch after a few months. In a serious and yet slightly trivial way, she is to him what Dominic was to me: fundamentally different religious beliefs, different worldviews. But I bailed on Dominic while John is committed to her. Of course, there is physical attraction for them while not so much for me, and that makes a big difference; but still, if I faced the same issues that John faces in his relationship, I really don't think I would still be dating this person, let alone have committed myself to this person.

What were these issues that I had in the past? Religion, lack of literary interest, lack of intellectual compatibility, plain error of judgement (French guy)... Curious, isn't it, how these things mattered more than his character? His honesty, his loyalty, his commitment, his willingness to always be there for me. Why did these things not matter? Why did I think that they were givens? Of course, they are givens in a manner of speaking: one wouldn't commit to someone who is dishonest, who cheats, who doesn't commit, so in a way, it is trivial to say that one wishes for these traits in a long-term partner, because that is what it means to be with someone in the long term.

Yet, it is also extremely non-trivial. It is the essence of the search; it is the destination that we wish to arrive at after a long and arduous journey, past too many pit stops that blur into one, too many broken hearts that eventually bit the dust. It is the yearning for the commitment of this sort - someone who will always be there - that fuels the fire, keeps the hope alive, prods us forward, step by step, to the next date, the next relationship, all the while knowing just how badly things are capable of turning out. How ugly when reality reveals its indifferent face to your hopeful, yearning heart; how devastating it is, when the house of cards upon which you have pinned your hopes comes crashing down with a cavalier flick of the fingers.

So it was envy that I felt when he said that she will always be there. I am tired of the search, of living with the ghosts of my past romances 'like so much insubstantial laundry' (John Banville), of wanting something which I am not even sure exists. And so I find myself missing people not for who they are, but for what they represented: Bruno and the disarming comforts of a genuine connection with someone else; Wouter and his loyalty and commitment to me; Wei Chuen and the assurance of having someone who knew me by my side. Simultaneously, I find myself rueing the things that could have been, but are not, and will never be: G and the thing that could have been with him, whatever it could have been; W and a relationship built on a mutual love for the written word and intellectual discourse, if only he were a different person; Bruno and a relationship built on mutual respect, mutual understanding, accommodation, if only he had figured out his life before he'd met me.

I meet all these different people and I wish I could just take the best elements from all of them and put them into one person. Wouter's loyalty and honesty, Wei Chuen's commitment and his knowing me, G's intellectual intensity, Bruno's easy-going nature and sense of humour, W's love for literature, Dominic's intellectual depth. But it is so masturbatory, thinking about the impossible, just like this entry.

I have lost track of the point that I wanted to make. No, I don't think that I have a point. I just wanted to put into words the weird mood that my talk with John left me in last night.


Moonlight was very touching. I think that is all that I can say about it.


I have to prepare for my French exam next week. Ahhh!
Tags: dating, guys, personal, relationships

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